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How Millions of Violent Muslim Deaths Feed the Cycle of Terrorism


World  (tags: Muslims, human rights, Islam, United States, USA, Europe, conflict, politics, society, violence, war, world )

Syd
- 315 days ago - nbcnews.com
"Over the last 30 years, the overwhelming proportion of violence in Europe has been against Muslims. Srbrenica was the biggest atrocity in Europe since World War II," he said, referring to the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Serb forces...



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Syd H. (48)
Monday February 17, 2014, 1:24 am

How millions of violent Muslim deaths feed the cycle of terrorism

The West, especially the United States, is waging a campaign of genocide and oppression against Muslims aimed at wiping Islam’s followers off the map -- at least that’s how radical Islamists see it.

That propaganda message – publicized and parroted by Islamic militants the world over – has reverberated with deadly results this year in Boston, London and Nairobi. And underscored by continuing conflicts in Egypt, Syria, Africa and elsewhere, it is gaining traction among mainstream Muslims and even forcing the White House to consider its impact when setting foreign policy.

Why? Because of this fact, according to Ed Husain, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations: Muslims have been dying violently in staggering numbers over the past three decades in conflicts around the world, many of them instigated by non-Muslim nations.

“The ugly truth is that it is real,” he said. “You can't go past a single month in the past 30 years without reports of Muslims being killed in some part of the world or another, and that sticks.”

An NBC News analysis of data from a variety of sources indicates that more than 4 million Muslims have died in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya and elsewhere since 1980. The data, which is imprecise, politically charged and often unverifiable, comes from human rights organizations, academic studies, the U.N. and from groups representing the victims.

Many terrorism experts and Islamic scholars caution that the notion that the West is orchestrating “a genocide” is a gross oversimplification.

Click to see some of the major conflicts that have claimed Muslim lives since 1980. NBC NEWS

“Beginning with the Iran-Iraq War and continuing to the present day, more and more casualties are inflicted by Muslims against Muslims,” said P.J. Crowley, a former spokesman for ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and now a professor at George Washington University. “The prevailing narrative in the region remains the faithful waging war against crusaders, but that is not the reality.”

The data offers some support for this view, with roughly half of the deaths in the NBC analysis attributable to internecine conflict, a trend that has increased in recent years.

Nonetheless, the perception that non-Muslim global powers are targeting Islam has become so widely accepted in the Arab world and beyond that it is now a consideration in U.S. foreign policy. Steve Simon, who was until earlier this year head of the Middle East Desk at the National Security Council, said it became part of the debate over drone strikes and the timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

"Over time, my impression was that administration became increasingly aware of the reputational costs of the drone attacks, weighing them against their considerable tactical gains,” said Simon. “There was a concern that over the course of the decade too many people were getting killed."

Likewise, the spiraling death toll played into decisions to speed the pullout from Iraq, he said.

“The sanctions, which the U.S. led, took a heavy toll, then (came) the war,” he said. “We also were aware that our involvement had unleashed internecine warfare that … killed many more."

Experts say the propaganda campaign also is helping embattled terrorist groups like al Qaeda expand their reach by feeding resentment and anger against the “infidels” – be they Christian, Jew, Hindu or Communist – to inspire new attacks.

This year alone, attackers have used such language to justify terrorist attacks in London and Boston and September’s al Shabaab assault on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed at least 67 people.

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev expressed it in a scribbled note he left in the Watertown, Mass., boat where he was captured, accusing the U.S. government of "killing our innocent civilians."

"I don't like killing innocent people," he wrote, according to the Associated Press, "(but) I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished. ... We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."

The underlying notion is even finding its way into the mainstream Muslim discourse. When Egypt’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed El-Baradei told the Council on Foreign Relations in 2010 that 1 million Iraqis had died as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example, he was merely repeating a figure commonly heard on the Arab street. Most academic research puts the number far lower – between 150,000 and 200,000 – as a direct result of the conflict.

Clearly, though, the U.S. and other non-Muslim nations have contributed to the perception through acts of aggression.

The Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan killed as many as 2.1 million Afghans, including 13.5 percent of the male population, according to U.N. estimates. The U.S.-led wars against Saddam Hussein took a brutal toll on the Iraqi population. Russia killed tens of thousands in Chechnya. Serbian and Croatian forces killed or starved to death hundreds of thousands in Bosnia and Kosovo. Indian forces have killed Muslims in Kashmir.

Many of those killed were civilians, often women and children. Norwegian terrorism researcher Thomas Hegghammer has found that al Qaeda’s most effective recruiting tool is video of women and children killed in such conflicts – footage that is widely available on the Internet.

Just as notable – and deadly – though, are the internecine wars, like the Iran-Iraq War, sectarian and political violence in places like Algeria or Sudan or Tajikistan and Saddam’s murderous campaign against the Shiites and Kurds in Iraq.

But the loss of Muslim lives in Iraq in multiple conflicts illustrates how, in the narrative put forward by radical Islamists, the hand of the West can be seen even in violence pitting Muslim against Muslim.

In the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), for example, the two Muslim nations – one led by Shiites, the other, Sunnis – battled to a deadlock, leaving hundreds of thousands dead on each side. But many Muslims say the conflict was pushed along by Western nations who armed both nations and wanted to see both bloodied.

“Local circumstances, local conflicts, local dynamics are ignored for a convenient explanation,” said Husain, the Council on Foreign Relations expert. “Even if it’s Muslim on Muslim, it's still portrayed as they're both fighting for external players.”

Haroon Moghul, a fellow at Fordham University’s Center on National Security, said the years it took for the West – in the form of NATO – to intervene in Bosnia and the failure to act in Chechnya to halt “ethnic cleansing” in both countries may have had an even greater impact on the Muslim psyche.

“Over the last 30 years, the overwhelming proportion of violence in Europe has been against Muslims. Srbrenica was the biggest atrocity in Europe since World War II,” he said, referring to the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Serb forces in July 1995. “The (Russian) air war on Chechnya was the biggest assault since World War II.”

To this day, many Muslims believe the U.S. and the West tried to stop genocide in Bosnia too late, and then only stepped in when the Muslim fighters were on the verge of a military victory, he said.

Simon, the former NSC official, said that argument fails to recognize that the intervention resulted in the creation of two Muslim states in Bosnia and Kosovo.

"The Muslim narrative is not to give the West any credit for that,” he said. “The West – it's said – didn't intervene out of a moral imperative, but out of self-interest. When the U.S. motives are perceived to be illegitimate, it's seen to be in the wrong even it does the right thing."

Two things must happen for that storyline to change, said Moghul, the Fordham University fellow.

First, he said, the world’s Muslims must develop the ability to see through the one-sided portrayal of the West.

“It produces the refusal to take ownership of anything,” he said. “If everything is a puppet, not only don’t you take responsibility, you can’t! Therefore, there is no actual grievance. ‘It’s a Western plot’.”

But the West also must gain a better understanding of what is going on in the wide belt from North Africa to the East Indies – the human suffering, its scale and the perception of those who are its victims – and become a positive force for change, he said.

“Although everyone is affected by this, the only ones who propose to do anything about it is the extremist groups ... and their solution is violence,” he said. “There is a huge vacuum of leadership that is coupled with a feeling of pessimism and marginalization.”


 

Syd H. (48)
Monday February 17, 2014, 1:26 am

Why are Buddhist monks attacking Muslims?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22356306

The above article is written by a author who also wrote a book about Portuguese Imperialism (Christians) in Sri Lanka.
 

John De Avalon (35)
Monday February 17, 2014, 1:40 am
Terrible but yes as Islamaphobia increases it is a good thing to remember that Muslims are also victims...

The majority of the victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslims ...
 

Syd H. (48)
Monday February 17, 2014, 2:04 am

John the victimization you talked about is often fed by Christian, Jewish, and even Buddhist powers.

From the article above:
~~
"Just as notable – and deadly – though, are the internecine wars, like the Iran-Iraq War, sectarian and political violence in places like Algeria or Sudan or Tajikistan and Saddam’s murderous campaign against the Shiites and Kurds in Iraq.

But the loss of Muslim lives in Iraq in multiple conflicts illustrates how, in the narrative put forward by radical Islamists, the hand of the West can be seen even in violence pitting Muslim against Muslim.

In the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), for example, the two Muslim nations – one led by Shiites, the other, Sunnis – battled to a deadlock, leaving hundreds of thousands dead on each side. But many Muslims say the conflict was pushed along by Western nations who armed both nations and wanted to see both bloodied. "
~~

I surely remember Arms for Hostages of the Reagan scandals with Ollie North as one of the stars taking the bullet for those who orchestrated it. The US was playing both sides then. And indeed the only "Weapons of Mass Destruction" Iraq might have had were those the US sold to them.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/reagan-iran/

 

Syd H. (48)
Monday February 17, 2014, 3:29 am

Also, the US often calls itself a "Christian" nation, and surely many of the European nations are indeed that as for instance in Germany your church fees are taken by the state out of your paycheck. Canada even funds Catholic schools with public money. But when the US goes into Iraq or Afghanistan or if they were to go into Egypt or Syria would they be Christian Crusaders (as George Bush so famously put it)?

No doubt there was a lot of Christian terrorism in the Americas including what eventually became the US (people lived there before the Christians came yet that didn't stop them), but especially in Central and South America when the Europeans came to suck everything they could from the land by conquering and enslaving (and killing) all the non-Christian natives. Why? The excuse was the indigenous people were "savages" so it's okay to treat them worse than animals (which is pretty badly), and IN China there were signs not even 100 years ago in the British and American concessions that said, "No Dogs, No Chinese" so we have to check our thought processes.

Fabulous book I've been reading lately is, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent (in Spanish Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina) which is even available in Spanish for free on the internet. We are still pillaging there. Banana Republic is a US & Euro invention (not a clothing line).
 

Syd H. (48)
Monday February 17, 2014, 4:45 am

A little more history (that helps explain a lot of modern day events):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partitioning_of_the_Ottoman_Empire

 

John Holton (361)
Monday February 17, 2014, 4:48 am
S and N
 

Past Member (0)
Monday February 17, 2014, 9:05 am
I did a bit of digging through Buddhist sites in Asia. I was actually looking for Buddhist Leaders (still got to go back to that research), but was quite shocked at how many militant groups of Buddhists I found. Let's face it, Religion has lost its way... all religions spout one thing (usually, peace and love) but the leaders and different factions become lost in their own egos... the rest is what we have in the world, and what a sad world it is now.

Thanks for the post Syd... it's good to remind ourselves that there is no "good" side... only differences of opinion that leads to conflict... the winners proclaim themselves the "good" side, but only after the slaughter of many innocents who neither had a voice or any animosity in them whatsover!
 

Syd H. (48)
Monday February 17, 2014, 9:16 am

Thanks for your insight Col.

From the BBC article linked above in one of the comments (it's from last year):
~~
On Tuesday, Buddhist mobs attacked mosques and burned more than 70 homes in Oakkan, north of Rangoon, after a Muslim girl on a bicycle collided with a monk. One person died and nine were injured.

But aren't Buddhist monks meant to be the good guys of religion?

Aggressive thoughts are inimical to all Buddhist teachings. Buddhism even comes equipped with a practical way to eliminate them. Through meditation the distinction between your feelings and those of others should begin to dissolve, while your compassion for all living things grows.

Of course, there is a strong strain of pacifism in Christian teachings too: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," were the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

But however any religion starts out, sooner or later it enters into a Faustian pact with state power. Buddhist monks looked to kings, the ultimate wielders of violence, for the support, patronage and order that only they could provide. Kings looked to monks to provide the popular legitimacy that only such a high moral vision can confer.

The result can seem ironic. If you have a strong sense of the overriding moral superiority of your worldview, then the need to protect and advance it can seem the most important duty of all.

Christian crusaders, Islamist militants, or the leaders of "freedom-loving nations", all justify what they see as necessary violence in the name of a higher good. Buddhist rulers and monks have been no exception.

So, historically, Buddhism has been no more a religion of peace than Christianity...
~~

I like your point about there being no "good" side. But I would put "haters" in on the bad side. Sad to see so much of it on C2 of late.

 

Roger Skinner (14)
Monday February 17, 2014, 11:55 am
Hate begets hate.
 

Dandelion G. (383)
Tuesday February 18, 2014, 6:03 am
Roger took the words out of my mouth.

I left this on another posters news story but it fits here as well. As you posted a hotlink to a story of Buddhist monks also attacking, and they of coarse have been attacked, many time themselves. This Buddhist monk that wrote the poem did so after he heard of a 12 year old girl being raped by a pirate, afterwards she dove into the sea, drowning herself rather than living with what happened. This could be applied to us all, the 3's, the Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, or the Irish, English, and French, or the _______well fill in the blank.

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a poem in it there are three people: the twelve-year-old girl, the pirate, and me.

Can we look at each other and recognize ourselves in each other? The tide of the poem is "Please Call Me by My True Names," because I have so many names. When I hear one of the of these names, I have to say, "Yes."

Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to
Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and
loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my
people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh

All of us are to some extent responsible for the state of affairs that exist around the world. Until we can start to realize that we are all connected and we all deserve dignity and respect this violence will continue on. It all does begin with me. We do not improve anything when we feed the flames of hate.
 
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